Month: October 2008

Reasons to vote no on Prop 8 in CA: Mass Resistance and the Wirthlins

So I recently became aware of the fact that Mass Resistance has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and decided to do a bit more research.

During my research I saw the sporadic contacts between the Wirthlins and Mass Resistance. Apparently they had their sensibilities hurt when the book King and King was read to a second grade class, one that their precious son was in.

A fairly innocuous book if you ask me. But the Worthless Wirthlins had a different view of the book. So much so that they had to meet with Estabrook School Principal Joni Jay and the teacher, Mrs. Heather Kramer.

And of course the Wirthlins showed THEIR notes. And for more Mass Resistance wackiness read here.

I absolutely love Ms. Jay’s comments that the Wirthlins could read every book in the library. That was great. I’d love to see her notes on the meeting, I’m fairly certain that the words ‘anti-gay’ show up in the notes several times.

And the Wirthlins saying they weren’t assuaged, that was just over the top. Assuage means to lessen the intensity, to pacify, quiet, appease and quench. In other words, the Wirthlins want it their way or the highway.

It is very understandable why the Southern Poverty Law Center would classify Mass Resistance as a hate group, the evidence is overwhelming when you think about it. And as a special treat, here are the Wirthlins on video defending their point. Robin Wirthlin gets very emphatic about homosexuality.

Troppe informazioni Martedì: Un giorno di ritardo, un dollaro a breve (TMI #157)

My apologies for being a day late and dollar short on this. I’ve recently started using my home computer less because I get so fed up using the computer at work. Most of that stems from Microsoft Access 2007. I’m an absolute whiz with it, but 2007 tries to be overly helpful and still has the same limitations that Access 97 had.

You know, how you can’t have more than 255 fields in a table. Well, Access also counts changing field types and parameters too. I went off on that in a Microsoft forum. Cant’ wait to see the responses because I also called MS-SQL a piece of shit.

1. Have you ever felt guilty or ashamed after a sexual experience?

Can’t say that I ever have. My sense of guilt is somewhat less developed than other peoples sense of it. I guess 12 years of Catholic schools do that to you.

2. Did you ever own a fake ID?

Never had to. When I was 16 I knew the cashiers at the liquor store next door to where I worked. They’d let me buy whatever I wanted as long as I had the cash.

Then I got lucky when they started raising the drinking age. First I was legal in MA but not RI, then I was legal in RI too. Worked out well enough.

3. How often do you tell white lies? Is it with or without thinking?

Not very often. But then there’s the “Do I look fat in this?” that absolutely REQUIRES a little white lie.

4. On a scale of 1-10, how well do you receive constructive criticism?

About an 8. But whoever is offering it had better not be blowing smoke. Otherwise I’m known to jump up get within inches of their face and give them a bit of destructive criticism.

5. Have you ever shaved your pubic hair?

Yes I have. Very uncomfortable when it starts growing back. I’m naturally VERY hairy so you can imagine the hell I went through.

Bonus: What percentage of women do you think are capable of handling being in a “friends with benefits” relationship? How about men?

I’ll do the last part first. I’d say 95% of men could do Friends with Benefits. As far as women go, I’d venture they’re almost up to that level. I know several women who are as sexually adventurous as we men.

This weekend

So last night Keyron and I hung out with Nick and Beth. I met them both through Keyron a few months back.

It was the night of great political discussion though Nick and I are pretty much solidly in what Nick likes to refer to as the Commie Pinko Left liberal side of the political divide. We talked about Palin and what and I think we agree with Lincoln Chaffee, she’s a cocky whacko.

We also talked about McCain’s deer in the headlights look when Obama said his health plan wouldn’t penalize small business owners and they wouldn’t pay a dime. Then of course I mentioned a story I’d seen that indicates McCain is starting to reconsider his choice of Palin.

Later on I setup Firefox, iTunes, AVG 8. on his new Vista laptop. Did I mention, Vista SUCKS! It isn’t really hard to find anything it’s just that the UAC is really annoying. Xp’s SP3 has included a little more UAC but it isn’t as fucking obtrusive as the one in Vista. I also had the sad duty of informing him that his printer didn’t do wireless printing, that the card wasn’t present in the slot.

Had a good meal of Chinese food from the Pagoda Inn in North Kingstown, RI. Good food, but I must admit I like the Chinese food available here in Providence at three places. The first is Chef Ho’s while the other is Phoenix Dragon which is right around the corner from me.

I also introduced Nick to a few new things.

He wanted to setup a blog and I got him setup on WordPress and gave him a basic tour. It’s funny, my default edit mode on WordPress is html, but I noticed they now offer the non-html editor as well as the html editor. I left him hooked up with the non-html editor. You can visit his blog if you like.

Also introduced him to RSS feeds. RSS is something that not a lot of people know about. In essence I consolidated all his newspaper feeds from the Boston Globe, NPR, etc. I also did the Mass Department of Education feeds as well as showed him the link to all MA DOE regulations. In all the instances I mentioned, all I did was go to their web sites and in the search box type “rss”.

I still have to get him up on Usenet (Aka Google Groups) because I think that is what he wants more, a forum where he can discuss ideas with people.

Only problem is that Google Groups kind of sucks. Not to mention that many of we old Usenet denizens killfile all postings from Google, gmail, etc. I’ll probably download a copy of Gravity for him and get him setup on Motzarella soon. Motzarella is a free public newsgroup server. I use it exclusively now since Cox’s news servers have started sucking big time.

I did explain to Nick that it wasn’t for the faint of heart of the thin skinned. I remember the days of Usenet where one had to don their asbestos underwear for the flamewars that occurred on a regular basis. Usenet is a bit more tame now, particularly since most of use have gotten older and wiser. But every now and then you get a Usenet Newbie that needs to be soundly pounded before they understand the rules of etiquette as they apply to Usenet/Google Groups.

I was glad to help, I like showing people how freely information can flow.

Someone else almost gets it! But socialism isn’t THAT bad.

The following Letter to the Editor in today’s Providence Journal.

Elizabeth J. Comeau: Moving toward National Socialism

01:00 AM EDT on Saturday, October 18, 2008

My attention has been diverted from the presidential election to our economy and the infamous bailout (a.k.a. rescue) plan. But, a rose by any other name . . . And, a mistake by any other name . . .

Before the House voted on the plan, we heard, “Passage of this bill will save us by providing immediate relief for the banking institutions; the companies that are struggling, the people in danger of losing their homes, their jobs, etc.”

The bill passed, and the market continued its downward spiral. Now we hear, “Change won’t come overnight. It will take time — even years — to recover.”

So far Ms. Comeau gets it. The give-away to the big corporations posing as banks was nothing but a money grab on the part of the business. Corporate socialism if you will.

Wasn’t it Mussolini who said, “The first stage of fascism is the merger of state and corporate power”? If we know our history, we know that in fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, the state gained control over the corporations. In modern America, it seems the corporations have gained control over the state.

The evil deeds of the infamous fascists were condemned, and the fascists defeated. Yet, I fear, the practice of economic fascism was not defeated and is alive and well, living in America, with our democratic system leaning more toward the philosophy of National Socialism.

This is where Comeau fails, and fails hard. It was the corporations that pushed Italy and Germany into the expansionist policies that brought about WW II. If you ever get a chance read the book titled “The Arms of Krupp 1587-1968” by William Manchester. And next time you step on an elevator take a look at the logos, I guarantee you’ll see at least one with the familiar logos of Thyssen (A stylized arch) and that of Krupp (Three interlocked circles) or the two bound together as Thyssen-Krupp. They still make steel and stainless steel, those are the hallmarks of the Krupp Conzern back in the day. That same metal went into German and Italian weaponry from the 16th through 20th centuries.

Why else would corporations hire huge armies of lobbyists to influence congress? It isn’t because they’re trying to stop fascism, it’s because they’re trying to make as much money as they can. The side effect of such activity is a rise in fascism.

Why else would they form PAC’s (Political Action Committees) to move unencumbered money to the candidate of THEIR choice.

Of course it is all base on the notion that a corporation has the same rights as a flesh and blood person. This is a false notion. They have no such rights as we do. That point needs to be made abundantly clear to them.

Put it this way, I don’t mind paying a fair price for goods and services. But right now we have too many monopolies and duopolies and oligarchies for my tastes. What choice do I have for electric service or gas service? The same is true of the video market, you can have cable, FiOS or Satellite television. Sure there is over the air programming but that’s so saturated (As is cable, FiOS and Sat) with advertising pushing us to buy, buy buy.

Don’t even get me started about cell phone and the idiots who think that computing is going to be centralized again. It isn’t because the centralization model require a subscription method. So you pay over and over and over again. Not to mention that connectivity isn’t as ubiquitous as they’d lead you to believe.

It begins innocently enough with programs like Social Security, Food Stamps and entitlement programs. But, the programs become less innocent, more sinister (the Patriot Act being one example) as we hand over more authority to the government.

I fear for us, our children, and all the children to come as we witness the destruction of our national structure. And, I fear, the most difficult times have only just begun.



Sorry Ms. Comeau, the so called ‘entitlement’ programs you mentioned do not lead to fascism and they most certainly didn’t lead to the USA PATRIOT act. That disgusting bit of legislation was written by the corporations that would benefit the most. The scanner manufactures, the security firms like Blackwater, and the large contractors like Halliburton. They benefited to the point where they’d destroy brand new trucks because they needed an oil change.

How about the $700 Billion in corporate welfare we just gave to what I call the shadow banks. Those are the ones who operated outside the regulatory framework. Did the government force that on them, hell no. Ask yourself the question, where did the money go. Follow it and all you questions will be answered.

It is the other way around – corporate greed eventually destroys an economy. There have to be strong regulatory laws to prevent this. Look at telephone service and electric service. They were deregulated and what happened. It costs us MORE for phone service now than it ever did. Yet the bottom dropped out on the long distance side.

I remember in 1982 I had my own phone line and I rented a red Western Electric 2500 set from then New England Telephone. My total monthly bill was $12. Now my VoIP service is $24.95 a month as has far more features, but then to add insult to injury it rises to $32 to $33 a month because of FUSF and all the other bullshit fees that go right into the carriers pockets, it isn’t used to build out broadband.

Broadband only gets built out in areas that they think have a high profit level.

I did a bit of googling on Ms Comeau, seems she works for the CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) the company allowed to solicit charitable donations from federal employees. So you’d think she’d understand the true role of the safety net programs.

Seems she’s never heard of the concept of economies of scale. Explain why the VA Hospitals (Walter Reed is NOT part of VA) have the least cost but best service? Imagine applying that to the entire country. It could be done but the entrenched insurance and billing lobbies would never let that happen. The VA is the exception that they want to keep quiet.

We need to rise up and fight the corporate dominance and fascism occurring in the U.S. today.

My thoughts on blind religious obedience

I had something of an epiphany last week. There’s some background I need to go over here just to make the point.

I am an atheist, have been since I was about 8 years old. Twelve years of Catholic schools didn’t put the religion in me. As a matter of fact, it made me more of an atheist, but one with a background in Catholic Christian theology and dogma.

But my father, he’s another story. I’ve mentioned his religiosity before, what with his pastor spouting racist dogma

But I dug a little deeper. All his life my father was told what to do. He was in the Navy, and now has the church to do his thinking for him.

All my life I made my own decisions, even my father couldn’t tell me what to do. I wasn’t an openly rebellious teen but I did things that would have totally freaked my father out had he known back then. There was the time around the time I was 16 where he decided I’d take part of my summer vacation to paint the house.

Grudgingly I did it until the day my father didn’t like the way I was painting. He said, and I quote “I could get a fucking four year old to paint better than that.” at which point I got off the ladder, handed my father the brush and said “Well go find a fucking four year old.”

We laugh about it now, but that was the moment my father knew that he couldn’t boss his son around and I could think for myself.

Believe it or not I credit two people in my life for planting the seeds that would guide my life. The first is my maternal great grandfather, Amos. Amos died when I was 11 but in those short years he taught me how electricity worked and how to control it and use it. Taught me how to use a soldering iron too.

The other was my paternal grandfather Anthony. Grandpa made sure I had reading material, subscribing me to science journals, and things of that nature. But Grandpa was a devout Catholic, we used to jokingly refer to him as St. Anthony.

And of course I get my sense of social justice from my mother. I hear from my aunt that my mother was quite the social crusader herself and I remember my mom being very open to new experiences and people.

But there’s the difference, my father doesn’t seem like a guy who likes to think for himself. He’d rather be lead by the nose. I on the other hand am very analytical, I look beyond. This is particularly evident in my view of politics, where I apply the forensic view of follow the money also known as who benefits the most. Take deregulation of the energy sector, who benefited most from that, of course it was the speculators.

My father on the other hand, won’t go even that deep. But his pastor can tell him that gay marriage is wrong and my father being the stooge that he is will sign the petition. And when I found out he’d signed I called him on it. He gave a lame excuse and I told him the only reason he’d signed the petition was because his pastor told him to do so.

I’d like to meet my fathers pastor. I bet he and I would lock horns almost immediately. The biggest thing is I think “why?” is a very important question to ask. Why does god not show itself to us? Why is the allegedly inerrant word of a deity to be taken as such?

One American carmaker – Our best solution?

Sure, one car company able to set the prices on its lonesome and maybe even force out competitors from across the Atlantic and Pacific.

Not a good idea if you ask me. I am however considering buying GM and Ford stock for three reasons.

1) It’s cheap. Around $5 or less per share
2) I know if push comes to shove, the federal government will not let the auto industry fail. Remember the 80’s and Chrysler?
3) I know that barring utter failure and bailout, merger will happen.
More on Cars
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Vote Smarter

These ads are great. They need to be picked up by the Obama campaign and it needs to go viral.

I think this is the election where the net will really show its power. McCain and his Luddite redneck crowd probably don’t even know what Google is.

Anyhow, I don’t have to say much since these videos say it all:

New Headphones

So I figured out that the in ear phones I had were causing the inner ear thing to go a little nuts so I started looking at over the ear phones aka headphones.

I looked at the Bose Quiet Comfort 3’s and quite honestly passed over them. They’re overpriced ($300) and their noise canceling is pretty much nothing but amplification. In order to do true noise cancellation you kind of have to predict the future. Then you can shoot out a wave front that is the inverted phase of the signal. DSP has brought that goal a lot closer but it just isn’t fast enough to counter most noise.

So during my digging I remembered Grado Labs. I recall having heard about them when I was doing my radio days. The most rave reviews were for their Prestige series SR80 headphones.

We’d used Grado cartridges on the turntables at the radio station I was working at back in the 80’s. And they had a very sweet sound so I figured I’d look at their headphones.

I first looked at their SR60’s. They are supposed to be good but the SR80’s have four conductor connecting cables and thicker ear cushions. The four conductor thing is interesting because it means you get a Y split with two conductor lines running to each side. But it makes no difference at the connector end because two of the grounds get tied together anyhow.

Grado Labs Prestige Series SR80
Grado Labs Prestige Series SR80

They have a rather retro look to them and I like that about them. The fact that they’re made here in the U.S. fairly close to home also played a part in my decision.

They sound if you’ll pardon the expression, fucking awesome. I queued up some George Duke and some P-Funk to try them out and I’m in heaven. The frequency response on these babies is fantastic. The bass is right there but event the high notes are sweet. I note that they are really optimized for Jazz, for example I queued up Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” and then some Ramsey Lewis, and Incognito. Talk about blown away.

They are a little leaky, in other words you can hear it clearly both inside and outside. But hey, it’s more fun to share your music anyhow.

The absolute best part of this is the price. You can get the SR80’s for $95 on

Seriously, if you’re in the market for headphones check out the Grado line. I’m fairly sure you won’t be disappointed. The headphones come with a one year warranty but I’ll be honest, they look to be easily serviceable even if they break after that first year.

I’m also thinking about a pair of their iGrado’s. They’re about $70 and more adapted for mobile use. They use the same drivers, matter of fact most of the Grado Prestige and iGrado lines uses the same drivers.

I’ve been using them for about two weeks now, on the train, at home etc. Something else I noticed, I’ve seen at least two other people bumping through South Station in Boston wearing, you guessed it, Grado SR80’s.

David Brooks: Sarah Palin “Represents A Fatal Cancer To The Republican Party”

The part about Obama surrounding himself with the best is interesting. He is by nature a team builder. I take that one further, I can take what you give me and create a very dynamic and interesting team.

That’s what I like about Obama, maybe he is too much like a college professor but I’d vastly prefer that than what we currently have and the current Republican offerings.
More on Sarah Palin
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost